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Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  334 ratings  ·  63 reviews
As one of the largest predators left in Britain, the fox is captivating: a comfortably familiar figure in our country landscapes; an intriguing flash of bright-eyed wildness in our towns.

Yet no other animal attracts such controversy, has provoked more column inches or been so ambiguously woven into our culture over centuries, perceived variously as a beautiful animal, a cu
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 19th 2016 by Elliott Thompson
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I am not sure just how many foxes there are where I am living, but I see them darting across the roads at night, caught by the headlights of the car. There was even one brazen fox walking up the middle of the road at midnight once. These fleeting glimpses of our largest predator left in the UK are for me quite special, but for others, this animal is considered a nasty pest and is something to be vilified.

In this interesting account of our tempestuous relationship with the fox. Consider and cunn
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book spun into my consciousness towards the end of last year, when I was captivated by an extract in one of those lovely anthologies from the Wildlife Trust.

‘We stared at each other, the fox and I, for a charged moment. Her eyes were a pale bronze and seemed bright and aware. She turned away and trotted down the street towards my house. She wasn’t in a rush at all. We walked for a while, her in front, me a few paces behind. In those seconds I got the sense that we were one and the same, mam
Foxes Unearthed, freelance journalist Lucy Jones’s first book, won a Society of Authors’ Roger Deakin Award for nature writing. If you’re familiar with Patrick Barkham’s Badgerlands, you’ll recognize this as a book with a comparable breadth and a similar aim: clearing the reputation of an often unfairly reviled British mammal. Jones ranges from history to science and from mythology to children’s literature in her search for the truth about foxes. Given the media’s obsession with fox attacks, thi ...more
Jo Barton
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book from the get go just because of its cover, not that I'm biased about orange whiskery creatures, you understand.

But putting aside the glory of its cover, this book really brings home our love and loathing of this most enigmatic of predators. For some, it's a creature of magic and mystery, whilst for others its a source of constant misery as hen coops up and down the land are targeted on an almost nightly basis. And then of course, there's the altogether more contenti
Clare O'Beara
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature, british-fact
The author had a grandfather who hunted foxes, a Scot. She thinks that his experience in WW1 was partly the reason. Men came home looking for the adrenalin and camaraderie of the war. Other people hunted just because they like horses and hounds and customs. Hunting is now illegal in Britain but drag hunts continue and sometimes they kill foxes.

We start by finding the fox in fables, folk tales, furs and rural names like Todhunter. Moving on to a night with a fox shooting professional, which can
Saturday's Child
Thanks to a terrific review from a Goodreads friend Clare my attention was drawn to this book, and being “Team Fox” I just had to read it. Foxes are one of my favourite animals, however as an introduced species that threaten our native wildlife, farm animals and suburban backyard pets such as rabbits and chickens they are not so popular. I love seeing them but almost all of the ones I have seen have been in suburbia. I was that commuter on my way home from work one afternoon who was surprised an ...more
Stephen Flanagan
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I very nearly gave this 5 stars. A really wonderful, balanced, sometimes tragic view of people's relationship with our vulpine neighbours. As much a book about the vast spectrum of human kindness, stupidity and hatred, as it is a book about foxes, this book is if anything, honest, and is genuinely looking for truth and understanding, rather than the sensationalist views on either side of the pro fox, anti fox coin. There is of course, at least in my mind only one correct view on this subject, bu ...more
Linda Hill
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Foxes Unearthed explores in detail the relationships we humans have with these fascinating creatures.

Let me say at the outset that Foxes Unearthed will not appeal to all readers. I will confess that I didn’t read the book all in one go, but returned to it over a couple of weeks. Those with a particular passion for or interest in foxes will, I think, devour it more rapidly. It is not a cosy celebration of the fox, but rather an erudite essay exploring our p
Mark Avery
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book (which is now out in paperback).

This book is about Foxes: hunted Foxes, urban Foxes, hen-eating Foxes, Foxes in literature and country lore. Foxes in our heads and in our hearts. It’s a well-written largely affectionate but not sentimental look at Foxes from lots of angles and it’s a very good read.

It reminded me of what I always thought to be a strange contrast between the conversations I would sometimes have at Game Fairs (well, I was mostly expected to listen rathe
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, nature
Us Brits have a fraught relationship with our wildlife. We complain about the (supposed) negative impact wild animals have on our lives - eating pets, killing chickens and livestock - yet also campaign to put an end to fox hunting, badger culling and the like. Around the area where I come from, badgers have been a common sight, albeit mostly dead ones, for as long as I can remember. However I can count on just two hands the times I've seen a fox. They seem so elusive and mysterious, and it's und ...more
A bit disappointing. Bonus points for the author for speaking against the vilification of the fox - and I wholeheartedly agree with her - but even that message was lost in her writing.

The book was a bit all over the place. First, she wrote a quick overview of some literary foxes (which made a poor chapter), then threw in some fox facts, and then moved on to the hunting controversy, only to end with a chapter about urban foxes in London. A set of interesting topics that turned out quite flat whe
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"The fox's perceived villainy has much to do with our attitude to the earth and the way we treat it. The fox is a problem only in so far as it affects our own interests - and that problem is often exaggerated to suit other agendas. Intentions of spite and malevolence have been projected onto the fox for many years when, in fact, it is simply a wild animal, acting according to its nature."

Nail and head. Lucy Jones has succeeded in writing one of the most important books in contemporary society, o
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Check out this review and more on my blog!

What's this? A book review? That's right, friends - I've actually read something! In fact, slowly but surely, I'm starting to read more.

As I'm taking part in Non-Fiction November this month I'm on a bit of a non-fiction kick, and I couldn't resist nabbing a copy of this new release.

If you're new to non-fiction (and considering I only really started reading it last year I'm certainly no connoisseur) then this would be a great place to start. Not only is i
Ben Goldfarb
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Especially enjoyed the history of Britain's fox-hunting debates and Jones's trip into the field with the hunt saboteurs. I had no idea the issue was so contested; the author's treatment of it is even-handed and nuanced. I've always been a fan of foxes, and this book enhanced my appreciation!
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Important book about relationships between foxes and people. I'm definitely a fox lover now!
Farah Mendlesohn
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bit repetitive and the introduction is weak but still well worth reading. I learned a lot about foxes I didn’t know.
Dane Cobain
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

First off, let me start by saying that this is a beautiful book. Photos of the cover don’t do it justice, because it feels slightly three-dimensional and is printed on the perfect paper. The interior layout is well-done too, and each of the different chapters are separated by gorgeous illustrations that just make it that little tiny bit nicer.

As for the book itself, it’s a stunning piece of non-fiction that inve
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Foxes Unearthed looks at the fox, the biggest land predator still around in modern Britain, and humans complicated relationships with it.

The early part of the book gives us a history of the fox in mythology, as Reynard, a trickster character and how it moved on to Fantastic Mr. Fox. Then we see what foxes are actually like and go into some depth in their behaviour. The bulk of the book though looks at human views on foxes from killing them or deterring them in urban areas to the hunting argumen
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love foxes so much.

Lucy Jones takes a closer look at the controversy surrounding the fox in British culture. Some loathe the fox. Some love it. Jones takes a look at all aspects of the fox in culture, such as literature, hunting and parliament.

I loved learning more about my favourite animal. It’s such an interesting animal and the way people perceive it continually confuses me. I hate how people have found loopholes in the hunting ban on foxes. It annoys me that foxes and hounds can live pea
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
No native animal plays a more central role in English culture than the fox. None divides opinions more radically. None is more misunderstood. This admirable book delves deep into our long-term relationship with foxes, from crafty Reynard, through agricultural pest, to the romanticised and lauded quarry of the golden age of hunting, and beast of modern urban legend. Lucy Jones hears from all sides of the debate and fleshes out the arguments with plenty of history and natural history. Foxes Uneart ...more
Michelle Ryles
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
Well I know us booklovers aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but how Fantastic Mr Fox is this cover? The hypnotic amber eyes of the beautiful fox stare out from the front cover, almost daring you to have a peek inside...and I, for one, was completely powerless to resist.

A few months ago I wouldn't have been terribly interested in reading a book about foxes, but then a rumour started to spread in my street: a fox had been seen early in the morning walking down the middle of our street.
Natalie (CuriousReader)
A fantastic, engaging, thought provoking and fascinating natural history of foxes (in Britain)!
Jeshika Paperdoll
May 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is less about the fox itself and more about how we, as brits, view the fox and how popular culture and the media have presented the fox to us through the years.

The first section of the book tells how the fox has been viewed historically, both as a cunning, evil villain and a smart, resourceful character. I enjoyed this section immensely and look forward to reading a few of the books cited here.

The largest, middle section of this book debates the hunt and the hunting ban imposed in 20
Elisabeth Bibbings
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A well-balanced and carefully written analysis of fox life and its impacts on humans, along with our widely varying attitudes to foxes (urban and country). The author has attended hunts with the huntsmen and with the hunt saboteurs, has explored urban myths about foxes and visited rescue centres. Though we can tell which side she is eventually on, she is careful always to put both sides of the argument.
A very enjoyable read - I now know much more about foxes than I did before.
Steffi Mccallion
May 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: to-read-2019
This seemed like some sort of terrible homage to fox-hunting. A happy, love filled epilogue for the Fox doesn’t take away from the trawls of Fox-bunting propaganda throughout the main body of the book. 2 stars because I enjoyed the first bit.
Mariana Pereira
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
Foxes Unearthed: A Story of Love and Loathing in Modern Britain is a wonderfully written and surprisingly even-handed approach on how foxes have been portrayed in media and literature throughout history all around the world, and specifically its cultural relevance to modern Britain. The best aspect of this story is that Lucy Jones presents both sides of the argument: how the fox was a caricature of villainy and cunningness to be used as a stereotype in didactic literature, to a sly and smart pro ...more
Adam Stevenson
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a fascinating book in inception. It’s about the divided nature in the UK’s attitude to foxes, especially regarding fox hunting and the growth of the urban fox. It would be impossible to write this book about rats or pigeons, because there aren’t enough people that really love those animals but foxes have their lovers and their haters.

I found the earlier chapters about the portrayal of foxes in European literature to be the most interesting. I loved the Greek myth about the unbeatable dog
"People both loathe and love the animal fiercely, and it stands apart from the rest of British wildlife because of its enemies and friends on both sides. The fox has never been a tabula rasa, but it has become more things to more people since attitudes towards animals shifted in the twentieth century."

Lucy Jones's concluding point sums up Foxes Unearthed perfectly. The British people and foxes have a complicated relationship, from the very beginning to the urban foxes nowadays. Easiest way to de
Sophy H
Aug 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: twats!
For a book on foxes, what I found most soul destroying about it was that most of the chapters were given over to how foxes are hunted, hated, slaughtered and maimed! I know the book is called Love and Loathing but the loathing seemed to invade the main bulk of the writing.

I can only assume that Lucy Jones wanted to give an objective outlook to the book so she goes out with hunt saboteurs one day (pro-fox) and goes out ...... on a fucking fox hunt with the twats who call themselves "hunters" on
Katrina Waldman
As Autumn draws to a close and Winter begins to creep up on us (and by 'creep' I mean 'hit us full throttle with ice-cold winds') I thought that 'Foxes Unearthed' was the perfect read for me. Everything about it is SO Autumnal! Not only that, but foxes are my favourite animals and I'm really interested to learn more about them. Highly rated, Jones's book seemed like a good place to start. She covers a variety of interesting topics in her writing about this gorgeous animal.

So what did I like? Wel
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Nature Literature: Foxes Unearthed discussion 3 19 Sep 10, 2018 12:06AM  

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